Charles Simeon Commentary - Joel 2:26 - 2:26

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Joel 2:26 - 2:26


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

DISCOURSE: 1181

REMOVAL OF JUDGMENTS A GROUND OF PRAISE

Joe_2:26. Ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.

MOST encouraging is that appellation whereby David addresses the Most High God: “O Thou that hearest prayer!” It is this view of the Deity which alone keeps men from despair, and prevents this sinful world from becoming a counterpart of hell itself. God doth indeed hear the prayer of the poor destitute, and not despise their desire. Of this there is a striking illustration in the passage before us. A plague of locusts had been sent, like an immense army, to destroy the whole land of Israel. The desolation spread by them had reduced the people to the deepest distress. But God encouraged them to humble themselves before him, and assured them, that, on their so doing, he would “be jealous for the land, and pity his people.” He even tells them what answer he would give to their petitions, even such an one as should secure to them the removal of all their troubles, and a complete restoration to his favour: instead of perishing by famine, they should “eat and be satisfied;” and instead of being put to confusion by him, they should “never more be ashamed” of their confidence in him.

The words thus explained, will lead us to consider in what light God would have us regard the removal of his judgments: it is to be regarded by us as a call,

I.       To more fervent gratitude—

This it is, whether our trials have been,

1.       Of a temporal nature—

[Temporal judgments, when heavy and of long continuance, are extremely afflictive [Note: Here the unprecedented distresses of the year (1816–1817) were spoken of: and any other calamities that may hereafter occur may be mentioned.] — — — And the removal of them, whether they have been public or private, social or personal, is a just ground for joy and thanksgiving. In such a dispensation of mercy we may often behold “wonderful” efforts of Divine goodness: and our acknowledgments should be devout and fervent, in proportion to the occasion that calls them forth. As “the very land,” and “the beasts of the field,” no less than “the children of Zion [Note: ver. 21–23.],” were here called upon to rejoice in the mercies vouchsafed unto them, so should we call forth “all that is within us to bless God’s holy name” for the blessings which we now commemorate — — —]

2.       Of a spiritual nature—

[Spiritual judgments, though less generally felt, are infinitely more grievous, than those which affect only our present interests. Say, ye who have been bowed down under a sense of guilt, and the fears of final dereliction, whether this be not a burthen too heavy for you to bear? How should you rejoice then, and bless your God, if he has removed it from you! Surely God “has dealt wondrously with you.” In providing such means for your restoration to his favour; (the death of his own Son, and the influences of his Spirit;) and in overcoming the reluctance of your hearts, and inclining you to embrace his proffered mercy; say, is not this wonderful? May you not behold wonders in every step of your way? Truly then there should be no bounds to your gratitude and love. The frame of your mind should be like that of the pious Hezekiah, “The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the fathers to the children shall make known thy truth. The Lord was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments, all the days of our life, in the house of the Lord [Note: Isa_38:19-20.].”]

The removal of his judgments from us is also a call from God,

II.      For more entire affiance—

Whilst we are under the pressure of our afflictions, we are ready to think that it is in vain to call upon God. But God assures us that it is not: he tells us that “his people,” namely, “those who wait upon him,” shall never be ashamed [Note: Compare Isa_49:23. with the text.]. They may assuredly expect from him all that they stand in need of. They shall never want,

1.       The gifts of his providence—

[This is abundantly declared in the Holy Scriptures. “They that fear the Lord shall want no manner of thing that is good.” There may be want to the lions; but there shall be none to them [Note: Psa_34:9-10.]. “Those who seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, shall have a due supply of all needful things added unto them.”

The extent to which these promises are fulfilled is little understood by those who have much of this world’s goods: but by the godly man who subsists by his daily labour, it is known and felt. He sees often in his small pittance such “wondrous dealings,” as fill him with utter astonishment, and constrain him to cry out as Israel after the passage of the Red Sea, “Who is a God like unto thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders [Note: Exo_15:11.].”]

2.       The blessings of his grace—

[Where shall we find one contrite sinner whom God ever refused to hear? Never was there one, from the foundation of the world. “Never did God say to any, Seek ye my face in vain.” Not even a Manasseh, who had filled the streets of Jerusalem with the blood of innocents, was rejected, when once he humbled himself before his God. And our blessed Lord has said without any exception whatever, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” “Where sin has abounded, grace shall much more abound;” and it shall prove sufficient for our necessities, even though our trials and difficulties be multiplied above the sands upon the sea-shore. The Christian’s hope is firm, and “shall never make him ashamed:” for God has said, that “Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: he shall not be ashamed or confounded, world without end [Note: Isa_45:17.].” This is repeated with yet greater emphasis in the verse following my text, in that it is associated with an assurance that his people shall be made sensible of his presence with them, and his relation to them as their God for ever and ever. This is the heritage of all who believe in Christ [Note: Rom_9:33; Rom_10:11.], and make him the one foundation of all their hopes [Note: 1Pe_2:6.].]

Address—

1.       Those who are under any trouble—

[Whatever be your trouble, give not way to despondency; but betake yourselves to the remedy which God has prescribed, even that of “turning to him with weeping and with mourning and with fasting [Note: ver. 12.].” Were it a mere peradventure that God would hear you after a long trial of your faith and patience, it would be quite sufficient encouragement to call upon him [Note: ver. 14.]. But his return to you in a way of mercy is sure, if only you seek him in a way of penitential sorrow: for he will be “the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel [Note: Joe_3:16.].” Only pour out your complaints into his bosom, and your prayer shall not go forth in vain. He will give you to eat of the bread of life and be satisfied, and turn all your sorrows into joy [Note: Isa_61:3.].]

2.       To those who have experienced any great deliverance—

[Be not unmindful of your great Deliverer, but praise and magnify him with your whole hearts [Note: Isa_12:4-6.] — — — Learn also to confide in him. Fresh troubles may arise, even heavier than you have ever yet experienced: but there is the same gracious God for you to go unto; and he will hear and answer you, as in the days of old. Nor is it to this world only that he will confine the tokens of his love: he will bear you, as on eagles’ wings, throughout all this dreary wilderness; and finally put you into the full and everlasting fruition of the promised land, where neither want nor pain shall be any more experienced to all eternity.]